Health Care Professional Information

Scientific Name
Scaevola spinescens
Common Name

Prickly fan-flower, Currant bush

Clinical Summary

A bushy shrub used in traditional medicine for cold, stomach ailments, and as a diuretic by the Aboriginese people in Australia. Maroon bush extracts demonstrated antibacterial and antiviral properties in vitro (1) (2), without any toxic effects (2). The infusion of the leaves and branches has purported use for cancer leading to heightened interest in using this plant as an alternative cancer treatment.
There are no published scientific studies showing anti-cancer effects of maroon bush in humans.

Purported Uses
  • Boils
  • Sores
  • Ulcers
  • Stomach ache
  • Diuretic
  • Colds
  • Cancer
Constituents
  • Flavonoids
  • Tannins
  • Alkaloids
  • Anthraquinones
  • Polysteroids
  • Saponins
  • Cardiac glycosides
  • Phenolic compounds
  • Pentacyclic triterpenoids: 14-taraxerene-3,28-diol (1; myricadiol)
    (2) (3)
References
  1. Semple SJ, Reynolds GD, O'Leary MC, Flower RL. Screening of Australian medicinal plants for antiviral activity. J Ethnopharmacol. 1998 Mar;60(2):163-72.
  2. Cock IE, Kukkonen L. An examination of the medicinal potential of Scaevola spinescens: Toxicity, antibacterial, and antiviral activities. Pharmacognosy Res. 2011 Apr;3(2):85-94.
  3. Kerr PG, Longmore RB, Betts TJ. Myricadiol and other taraxerenes from Scaevola spinescens. Planta Med. 1996 Dec;62(6):519-22.

Consumer Information

How It Works

Bottom Line: Maroon bush has not been studied in humans.

An Australian shrub used in traditional Aboriginal medicine for cold and stomach ailments. Lab studies have shown that maroon bush has antibacterial and antiviral activities, but it is not known if it has anticancer effects in humans.

Purported Uses
  • Boils
    There is no scientific evidence to support this use.
  • Sores
    This use is not backed by published data.
  • Ulcers
    There are no data to confirm this use.
  • Stomach ache
    This use is not supported by clinical data.
  • Colds
    Although used in traditional medicine, there are no clinical data to confirm this.
  • Cancer
    Even though purported to have anticancer effects, there are no scientific data to support this use.
  • Diuretic
    Maroon bush is used in traditional medicine as a diuretic but there is no evidence to establish this use.
E-mail your questions and comments to aboutherbs@mskcc.org.